New York City

26 07 2010

“These streets will make you feel brand new/ Big lights will inspire you…”

Alicia Keys

Every time I spend a weekend in NYC, I feel increasingly conflicted about that city.

It seems like everything I love about New York City is the same thing I hate about it.  There really is no place like it.  I love the way it feels so huge that it just envelops you, physically and psychologically.  The buildings tower over you, the energy in the city is constantly crackling, there are endless possibilities of things to do and people to meet.  You feel completely anonymous there, just a speck in a sea of drama and fast-paced activity.  It’s the center of everything– any movie or play you want to see is there, any shop or museum you want to go to, any kind of food you want to eat or classes you want to attend, it’s right there.

At the same time, I think this is exactly what would drive me nuts about living there.  It’s so huge and full of possibilities that being there for three days just tires me out.  How do you ever achieve a sense of satisfaction there when you’re a “grass is always greener” person like me who constantly weighs what you could be doing that’s better than what you’re already doing?

Most of my friends in D.C. live within a one-mile radius, and there’s only a handful of bars and restaurants that we really enjoy, so it makes decisions really easy.  If I’m with my two favorite people at one of my usual haunts, like Bar Pilar, I don’t spend the whole night thinking about all the other things that are going on in the city that I might be missing out on, because I know that there’s probably not that much.  In NYC, if I’m at a bar in the Village that’s not that cool, it makes me want to rip my hair out because I know that I’ve got college friends drinking on a boat out in Chelsea, work friends in town at a party on the Upper West Side, a close friend from home heading to a really interesting off-Broadway show, etc., and what am I doing wasting my time at a place like this when I could be doing any number of cooler things right now that would only require a short expensive cab ride?!  So many people to call, so many neighborhoods to cab to, and so little money in my wallet!  It’s mentally exhausting.

D.C. is a slow and easy city.  There’s not nearly as much going on, the buildings and houses are all short enough that you can see the rest of the city and trees around them, and there’s such a slew of boring political-types that decisions about who to surround yourself with are a no-brainer.  The cool people in D.C. find each other easily and gloop together.  I can live in a giant air-conditioned house in a residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets in D.C. for the same amount of money that would get me a sweaty apartment the size of a postage stamp in NYC, and let’s face it: I could NOT survive without central A/C.

Sometimes I crave the hustle-and-bustle and crackling energy of New York, and nothing fans that flame more than visiting some of my favorite people who live there and have carved out really interesting lives for themselves there.  But it’s always a little bit of a relief to come back to my relatively sleepy, intelligent, half-Southern little city where I can really relax for a minute and stop thinking about what I could or should be doing.

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9 responses

26 07 2010
FFA

26 07 2010
katie

So DR, is it fair to say that you prefer comfort to the exciting unknown and all the potential it holds? I ask in such a pointed way because I prefer our fair hamlet to New York too (for many of the same reasons) but I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m justifying my laziness or ‘fraidy-catness when I say it. Plus, surely DC nightlife has more to offer than a handful of bars on 14th, right? Or am I deluding myself?

26 07 2010
districtramblings

I wouldn’t say I necessarily prefer comfort. I’m conflicted about the comfort vs. excitement debate, especially the older I get. I wouldn’t call it lazy or fraidy-cat, I just find it more pleasant sometimes to be able to have my space and my quiet neighborhood as a peaceful alternative to the hustling and bustling city, which, in New York, you can’t ever really escape. Know what I mean?

And yes, there’s more than a handful of bars on 14th to D.C.’s nightlife, but surely you aren’t making the argument that there are as many cool things to do and places to go here as there are up there? I don’t think it’s even a fair comparison.

26 07 2010
graber

i had no idea that you were into bar pilar. lets go pick up cougars together! im really excited.

also – i feel the same way about NYC. its fun and all but i’ll never make enough money to live there comfortably and sometimes quiet time is essential which is rare. and fuck the yankees.

26 07 2010
Wing-it

ooooooo graber – fuck the yankees ???? You better watch out or you will find coal in your stocking next Christmas. Santa Claus is about as Yankee as you can get. The North Pole may be sliding farther South because of global warming but I dont see it making it to D.C. He will, tho, so eat those yankee words.

26 07 2010
graber

ooooo wing-it – i’m jewish. yankees can suck my ass. what now?!

27 07 2010
bros

id rather shoot my foot off and eat it braised than live in NYC.

27 07 2010
Wing-it

o-o-o graber – now you’ve gone below the belt.

1 08 2010
slab pie

I can totally understand the argument, DR, but I think that when we visit NYC, we aren’t going to/ noticing all of the quiet areas the city has to offer. There are certainly a ton of residential areas that are peaceful and more roomy…

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